Paxtonvic’s Blog

Just another weblog

Sunlight in Little Paxton Church

sunlight in LP church Jan 27th 2013

This morning just for a few minutes sunlight flooded through a small leaded window in the south chancel wall of Little Paxton Church.
It bathed the north wall of the chancel in diffuse light, and brought out the deep tones of the oak pews and altar rail.
Fuzzy patterns of pale light played on the cream wall, the edges moving and dancing as the pulses of light waxed and waned. Different patterns and shapes emerged and dissolved into something else.

I thought:

The sunlight is like God. We cant see Her directly, but we know She is there by the reflections of her glory.
Yet those reflections are fuzzy and what one person sees is diferent from what another person sees.
Which is rather like how people see the bible.
One set of books; one person interprets the words one way, yet another person in another way. Same book different reflections.

Which might explain how the group of people who gathered in Ely on Thursday night to lisetn to eachother about women bishops and the way forward had very different ideas about what the bible says about women and headship.

We all see God’s truth in a different way and we all think we are right.

Maybe none of us are right or wrong. The lesson we have to learn is not to judge eachother but just accept the different interpretations of truth and live with difference. Its only when we insist we are right and “they” are wrong that the fighting starts.

January 27, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Finding the way forward

Isn’t always easy…..
Great PAxton snow gates Jan 20th 2013
 But as I left Great Paxton Church this morning I was singing ” O let me see thy foot marks and in them plant my own”.

January 20, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Water into wine

This snowy morning  at Little Paxton I preached a reworked sermon on the first of Jesus’ ” signs” or miracles  recorded by St John.

I began with a barage of ” horse burger ” jokes, not least as one of our congregation works for Tesco. Not sure I made the link very well between the jokes and the  signs of God’s glory, but it is there somewhere!

Wedding at Cana John 2 v 1-11

 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration. When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They don’t have any wine.”

Jesus replied, “Woman, what does that have to do with me? My time hasn’t come yet.”

His mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”Nearby were six stone water jars used for the Jewish cleansing ritual, each able to hold about twenty or thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water,” and they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some from them and take it to the headwaiter,” and they did. The headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine. He didn’t know where it came from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew.

The headwaiter called the groom 10 and said, “Everyone serves the good wine first. They bring out the second-rate wine only when the guests are drinking freely. You kept the good wine until now.” 11 This was the first miraculous sign that Jesus did in Cana of Galilee. He revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him.

Sermon for January 20th 2013.

Amongst the more serious news this week came the shocking revelation that some Tesco burgers were found to be  29% contaminated with horse meat. I should hastily add that other super markets were found to have stcoked similar products.

Very soon after the story landed on our TV screens and radios, Tesco was embroiled in another row as someone from the Tesco care team had tweeted:

‘It’s sleepy time so we’re off to hit the hay! See you all at 8am for more Tesco tweets”

Apparantly the tweet has been scheduled to be sent before the horsegate  scandal ( as it came to be known)  erupted  and Tesco had to apologise quickly  to the public for the tweet as well as the burger revelations.

The burger  story set off a flurry of jokes on the subject. Here are just a few of them.

Making money is the mane thing for Tesco ; Tesco have made foals of us

Someone quipped that Tesco replied to a customer who had asked whether they stocked ‘Red Rum’ by saying they would ‘look into the issue and get back to him soon’

‘I got some Tesco burgers out of the freezer earlier aaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnndddddddddd they’re off!,’ .

‘I hear that they are putting uniQuorn in the veggie burgers too

John Prescott,  tweeted: ‘I see the Tesco horse burger is the mane news item on Twitter.’

Can’t believe that woman was sent to hospital after eating a horse meat burger…… Her condition is said to be stable.’

‘Is eating horsemeat really that bad? Let’s put it to the vote. All those in favour say ‘aye’, all those against say ‘neigh”

Most of us I expect all like to believe that what is on the packet really describes what we are eating. I wonder how many of us really take time though to read the labelling and make decisions about whether to buy a product or not based on what we read.

There are many other instances in life where we look for direction and guidance. When we had the floods, how many of us tried to make out whether the Road Closed Flooding” sign really meant what it said in Mill Lane.

Sign posts are all around us in our daily lives. Usually they tell us something important, something we need to take note of.

In the NT reading today from John’s gospel, we read about Jesus performing a miracle – his first miracle as recorded in John – a miracle of turning water into wine at a wedding in Cana.  At the end of the account we read:

“ This deed at Canaan in Galilee is the first of the signs by which Jesus revealed his Glory and led the disciples to believe in him”. There were to be 7 in all recorded in John’s gospel and  the Acts of the Apostles refers to Jesus’ mighty works, wonders and signs” .

Jesus reveals His glory – God’s glory – not in a dazzling great light which cannot be looked at directly but in the simple act of caring- ensuring there is enough wine available for a wedding breakfast.

There is a separate sermon to be preached on the concept of God’s glory – Hebrew word is Kabod – but for now let’s rest with the idea of glory as expressing the great power and presence of God, something which in OT writings often is just too awesome for those who encounter it like Moses.

. Here was a breakthrough – ordinary people could directly  and safely experience God’s power and grace  and healing  love –  in Jesus and the signs he worked.

The almost unknowable God of the Old Testament was now being directly met in the person of Jesus.  For some at first it was hard to believe what they were seeing. Wasn’t this an ordinary man from an ordinary family in Nazareth? How could he be other than a mere carpenter’s son who had come along to a friends wedding with his mother? But all was not as it first seemed from the outside. Though 100% human, in Jesus God was 100% present too.

At Cana he takes charge of what could have been a very embarrassing situation for the steward of the feast. He starts with what they have – water. With the minimum of fuss  he carries out the miracle. 6 jars are filled with water and he turns the water into wine. He demonstrates his power to transform and change. We read that his disciples believed;  this miracle enabled them to see that Jesus was acting in the power of God to change lives and situations.

I wonder: where can we look today for signs of God’s glory? Of God changing lives?  Of God transforming situations?

How can we talk with any integrity about God’s glory and his love in a word full of injustice, where natural disasters claim thousands of lives. Where is God’s  glory when very sad things happen to very good people? Where is God’s glory and his light to be seen where- to use traditional language of theology  – sin seems to block its shining?

 This is where we draw on our deepest faith in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

I believe that God is intimately involved in the activity of humankind in this world – in the life of every individual  who has been and who is on earth. That’s quite a claim for there are over  7 Billion people in the world right now and the population increases daily at a fast rate.

The Good News is that God overcame human darkness and sin when Jesus broke into human darkness on the first Easter Day – bringing the ever present possibility of healing, new life out of every situation of darkness. I believe the promise of his glory is always there in every seemingly hopeless situation.

Through the eyes of faith, we can see God’s glory not necessarily in spectacular healings or in great crowds in evangelistic missions – but most importantly in every day stories of kindness, laughter, healing and courage and perseverance and in those who fight for justice where deep injustices have committed.

In the Gospel reading , God revealed his glory – his life changing presence – at a seemingly ordinary event like a wedding.  And it is in our homes, in our communities in the places where we work and worship that we may look for the signs of his glory. Reading the tweets of our local hospital chaplain Scott often reminds me how through the eyes of faith God’s  transforming presence quietly soothes the deepest of pains

In the Gospel reading , God revealed his glory – his life changing presence – at a seemingly ordinary event like a wedding.  And it is in our homes, in our communities in the places where we work, in our local schools and hospitals  that we may look for the signs of his glory.

I wonder what it would be like if Jesus walked through the door of this church now?

We believe his spirit is with us of course. The Lord is here: His spirit is with us we exclaim in our service of Holy Communion.

But if we actually saw the Jesus who walked this earth now, walking through that door, what would he say to you and me?

What would he want to say about this church building and how we should be using it in the future? It’s an ongoing conversation we must have as we give thanks for all we have achieved together and look as well to the coming years. Hands would go up I’m sure for better heating!

Above all hands up for continuing to offer a warm welcome to everyone who comes through the doors of our church and enjoys the many events we have planned for 2013.

May we be open to the transforming power of his love in our lives as he moves us on to a deeper understanding of what he’s about and what he wants us to be about in his name.

“ This deed at Canaan in Galilee is the first of the signs by which Jesus revealed his Glory and led the disciples to believe in him”.

May we look with the eyes of faith and a heart of love for those daily signs of God’s presence within us and around us. By our kindness may we be a transforming presence in the situations we find ourselves in day by day.


21st april sunburst and showers








January 20, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Homily for the Baptism of Eliza at Great Paxton Church December 30th 2012.

Homily for Eliza Bonham

December 30th 2012.


 One of the key features of a nativity scene are the animals that join the human figures amongst the hay. We have a very large Ox in the Great Paxton crib which  takes up a lot of space. We have a donkey and a lamb. Other scenes often find a cat or dog or some other animal has crept in.

When I was in my previous very rural parish I often was allowed to be present when lambs were born on a local farm. I remember how amazing it is that very quickly they are able to stand up and run around. Sometimes they need a bit of encouragement and nudging from their mother and they may be a bit shaky on their legs to start with. This swift progress to becoming independent at least in some respects is true of other animals too.

By comparison human beings who can take a year or 18 months before they start walking about.

I’m loving the new toddler group at Little Paxton Church on Wednesday mornings and being reminded how tiny and helpless new born babies are compared to two years down the road when the toddler is walking around and in to everything.

The difference apparently between a human baby and an animal is to do with the size of our heads.  Our brains are so big that our heads have to be big to accommodate them. The only way we can literally come into this world is by our bodies being small enough,  so it takes us a long time to develop the muscles needed to allow us to stand up and walk.

Which means that out of the whole animal kingdom, human babies are the weakest, and most vulnerable  of all creation. They are totally dependent in the first months of life on others for their well being and survival.

That emphasises just how amazing the birth of Jesus Christ is.

The God who created the entire universe, the God who flung stars into space and created the planets and infinite galaxies allowed himself to become the  weakest  and most vulnerable part of his own creation.

It is as if God chose to turn things upside down.  He came into the world “ little weak and helpless”  as the carol “Once in Royal David’s City”  puts it. He asked to be cared for, to be looked after. And we imagine the tender love of Mary and Joseph doing just that.

Of course Jesus grew up to be an adult  and had a loving family and dear friends around him, but  died on the cross, killed by other people who weren’t able to accept the God given responsibility to deal kindly and fairly with one another.

But the amazing thing about the cross of course is that as he was dying he asked for forgiveness for those who killed him. We know whenever we fail or fall short, God is always more ready to forgive us than we are to ask for forgiveness.

What a privilege it is today to be with Eliza’s family  and friends as they bring her  to this ancient church for holy baptism.

We are only here today because generations of people have cared for the building and believed it to be a place where God can especially be worshipped and experienced. A place where people have  come together to share their faith and comfort each other in difficult times and  celebrate in good times.

Countless numbers of infants and adults have been baptised in the ancient font, too many to be all known by name though we have had registers since 1580s with each person named and remembered.

Like Jesus, like Eliza, like each one of us, every child ever born has needed  to be completely looked after from the moment they are born until they develop their independence.

Parenting can be very exhausting but infinitely rewarding. But in looking after an infant, we are fully accepting that invitation from God to live out our vocation to nurture and care.

As parents of grown up children might agree, the caring and worrying about them doesn’t stop when they can walk and talk and become independent. It can be far more worrying when they have bank accounts, drive cars and have boy or girl friends.

Jules and David, we rejoice in you becoming parents.  We rejoice that you care for Eliza so beautifully and accept with open arms God’s invitation to bring love, joy and new life into our world.

As we enter a new year may we all accept that daily challenge of caring which God gives us with each new sunrise.

It may not be looking after children but there are so many ways to look after our friends and neighbours and our planet earth. We might not always get it right but we know that God is always ready to forgive us when we fall short and help us start again.

If we ever need a picture to remind us of how to take responsibility for each other and the world.  Remember how vulnerable a tiny infant is. How our instinct is to treat him or her with the greatest gentleness and respect.  How wonderful if we always had that attitude towards all those we meet and the earth that gives us life.

My prayer for Eliza is that as she grows up surrounded by enduring love from her parents, family and friends she will before long discover God’s love for herself and the joy that comes from loving those around  her and the earth which she inhabits.

Children of Eliza’s generation may well live into the next millennium. What responsibility they carry to care for planet earth and for one another.

May Eliza find strength in the Christian faith into which she is about to be baptised and may God’s blessing dwell richly with her and all those who love her so much.

May the new year bring us all Gods peace and contentment as we strive to do his will and seek his guidance day by day. Amen.

With acknowledgement to a “ You-tube” video made by Rev Andrew Milton of All Saints Church, Huntingdon for the Christmas season. He gave me the idea for the opening thoughts of this homily.

January 6, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments

” Quartet” a film not to be missed

On a rare trip to the cinema, I went to see ” Quartet”, released today and directed by Dustin Hoffman. I loved very minute of it and although my fiends either side of me didn’t know,  I  was in tears for most of the last half hour.

Here is the official synopsis for the film:

Lifelong friends Wilf and Reggie, together with former colleague Cissy, are residents of Beecham House, a home for retired opera singers. Every year on Giuseppe Verdi’s birthday, the residents unite to give a concert to raise funds for their home. But when Jean Horton, a former grande dame of the opera fallen on hard times, also Reggie’s ex-wife and the fourth and most celebrated member of their former quartet, moves into the home to everyone’s surprise, the plans for this year’s concert start to unravel.

As old grudges threaten to undermine past glories and theatrical temperaments play havoc with the rehearsal schedule, it becomes apparent that having four of the finest singers in English operatic history under one roof offers no guarantee that the show will go on.


It is funny, beautifully acted ( cant get enough of Dame Maggie!) and offers us a tender story of how older people  can find love, deep friendship and be highly creative. I was expecting at least one or two of the residents to die at some point, but everyone stayed alive even if a bit frail mentally or physically and the end was so sweet! The setting ( not sure where it was) was visually pleasing to  the eye and many of the characters had been professional singers in real life. 

I thoroughly recommend going to see Quartet whatever age you are. 

January 1, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment